A Federal Court decision which quashed the possibility of a container terminal at the Port of Newcastle is being met with backlash.

The port has been pushing to diversify into freight and establish a larger terminal on the former BHP site at Mayfield for years, but is currently limited by laws which restrict container movements and make the project financially unfeasible. 

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is now deciding whether to proceed with an appeal against the call, after their claims the restrictions were anti-competitive and only put in place to favour Port Kembla and Port Botany, were rejected.

Newcastle MP Sharon Claydon said the Government needed to step in for the sake of the Hunter economy and its sustainability into the future.

“It is outrageous that the NSW Government has subjected us to a dodgy deal they made in order to sell and privatize the ports in NSW,” Ms Claydon said. 

“It’s effectively a massive constraint on Newcastle.” 

The court also rejected arguments the Government lost Crown immunity from anti-competitive practice in privatizing the ports, stating the Government was not acting as a business, but only in the interest of a policy decision. 

“All pressure should be put to the NSW Liberal Government,” Ms Claydon said. “This is a problem of their making, and the solution also lies with them.”

“Why should we be penalised and not be in a position to develop and grow this port, help create jobs in our region, and continue to drive great economic activity in Newcastle?”

Image credit: https://www.portofnewcastle.com.au/